Loneliness is the feeling of isolation and being disconnected from the world around you. You may experience loneliness being on your own or surrounded by people that you feel no meaningful connection to.

Loneliness can be brought on by the loss of a loved one, relocation, long term lack of family ties or living alone.

You may have difficulties meeting new people due to isolation, introversion or poor mobility.

Most people will experience short term loneliness, but if it continues for long periods it can lead to an increased risk of depression, anxiety or even panic and paranoia.

People who experience loneliness for any length of time can develop physical symptoms associated with depression or feelings of being worthless, hopeless or in extreme cases develop suicidal thoughts.

The good news is that with a little work, loneliness can be overcome.

Connect or reconnect with friends and family. Staying in contact with family or old friends on a regular basis can prevent loneliness. If they aren’t closeby and you can’t visit, then technology can be a great help. Using programs like Skype to talk face to face people is the next best thing to being in the same room.

If you don’t have access to Skype, the online access centres at Deloraine or Mole Creek  have free access to everything you need and will show you what to do.

Getting out and about is a great strategy to combat loneliness. Going to social functions, joining a walking group, spending time out and about or making a local coffee shop a regular place to visit will ensure you see a friendly face or two you get to know.

There are lots of opportunities in the Meander Valley to get involved in clubs, activities and events happening throughout the valley. Deloraine house publish an events calendar and host many events and activities that you can attend or get involved with.

Try a new or old hobby, join the heart foundation walking group or attend one of the many craft, gardening or culinary events on offer

You can find the events calendar here.  Events Calendar

The Meander Valley Gazette also publishes an events calendar. There are plenty of things to attend or get involved with in the Valley.

Volunteering or joining a service club is one of the best ways to meet people and gain a sense of purpose by helping others in the community.  Lions, Rotary and  Apex are among the many active service clubs you can join. There are also many volunteering opportunities outside of the service clubs that you would be welcomed with open arms.

Lastly, never underestimate the value of a pet. They make great companions and provide comfort at times of stress, loneliness and isolation.

If you are feeling lonely and it’s getting you down and impacting on your day to day life, then talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. This can be a friend, counsellor or even your GP.

Letting your loneliness get you down and develop into more serious forms of anxiety and depression is problem that can be avoided if you talk to someone about it.